IF BAGGING Everest was one of your resolutions this year, there's bad news: you've blown it. The vital May window in the weather between the end of the winter winds and the start of the summer monsoon, is closing for another year.

The Himalayas in Nepal have always, Everest aside, held a powerful fascination for travellers, and although the mountain has been denigrated in mountaineering circles as little more than a hard hike, a summit attempt is still a major undertaking, as anybody who has been reading Stephen Goodwin's expedition diary in our daily sister paper will know.

You don't have to climb the mountain to have that Everest experience. Tourists can go as far as the Base Camp without one of the expensive climbers' permits which are issued by the Nepalese authorities. Several commercial expeditions organise trips to the mountain. One such, Him-Kooh, offers trips of varying difficulty; anything from a summit attempt to base camp trips, which it classifies as a fairly demanding outing

If you're looking for general information about high altitude hikes, try Blue Dome's site. Blue Dome doesn't sell holidays itself and its production values are ropey (plenty of those irritating misplaced apostrophes). However, it has amassed an impressive database of information and there is plenty to browse through if you're looking for something that might set your imagination alight. And it's one of those rare sites that's clearly been constructed by people with a passion for their subject.

For a rather more polished virtual tour of the area, try Lonely Planet's guide to Nepal. It includes plenty of information about the area, with a comprehensive list of activities as well as basic information on getting there and getting around.

l www.sharplink.com/himkooh/main.html

Him-Kooh guides.

l www.bluedome.co.uk

Blue Dome. A range of outdoor activity information.

l www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/ind/nep.htm#attr

Lonely Planet's Nepal Page. Excellent for background information.